study guide for medieval unit test: english 4

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STUDY GUIDE FOR MEDIEVAL UNIT TEST: ENGLISH 4
I.
II.
Characteristics of the Middle Ages
 Age of Faith, belief in afterlife and in Purgatory

Church corruption

Feudalism

Emerging middle class

Chivalry as a code of conduct
Authors:
 Geoffrey Chaucer (~1343 – 1400)
o Social commentary: noting virtues and vices of the pilgrims

III.
IV.
Sir Thomas Malory (~1405 – 1471)
Literary Analysis
 Direct Characterization (97)

Indirect Characterization (97)

Allegory (122)

Exemplum (122)

Archetypal Narrative Elements (122)

Frame (136)

Setting (136)

Medieval Romance (161)

Legends (161)
“The General Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales
 What happens to plants in the month of April?

What happens to birds and animals in April?

What happens to many people in April? Why?

Who is the martyr buried at Canterbury Cathedral?
2
V.

What is the name of the inn from which the pilgrims stay before leaving for the pilgrimage?

Who owns this inn?

Knight

Squire

Prioress

Monk

Friar

Merchant

Wife of Bath

Parson

Miller

Pardoner

Host: Harry Bailley

Why does Chaucer say he must repeat each pilgrim’s tale as closely as he can remember it, even
if the tale is bad?

What are the two conditions of the tale-telling contest?

Who will be the judge?
“The Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale” (124)
 What is the genre of this story?

What kind of man is the Pardoner, and how do we know?

What does the phrase “Radix malorum est cupiditas” mean? (124)

What is the problem at the beginning of this tale, and how do the main characters plan to solve
it?

What distracts the men from their purpose? Why?
3
VI.

Whom does the Old Man say that he has never found?

Where does the Old Man say that the men can find Death?

What is ironic about the answer to the above question?

Why do the men plan on killing each other?

How do the men plan on killing each other?

At the end of his tale, what does the Pardoner try to get the pilgrims to do?

Why is this effort ironic?

In what way is this tale an allegory?

What are the archetypal narratives present in this tale?
“The Wife of Bath’s Tale”
 What was the name of the Wife’s fifth husband? (137)

Why does the Wife bother to tell us that no more fairies roam the country anymore?

What is the genre of the Wife’s tale?

What is ironic about the way this genre is used by the Wife?

What is the setting of this tale?

What expectations do we have of a tale set in this king’s court? Why?

What crime does the knight commit at the beginning of the tale?

Why is this ironic?

Why does King Arthur allow his wife, Queen Guinevere, to be the judge of the knight’s crime?

What test does she set for the knight?

What is the purpose of telling the tale-within-a-tale about King Midas?

Why is it ironic that this tale is told?

Who gives the knight the answer to the question he needs answered?

What does he promise to give in return?

What three reasons does the knight give for not wanting to be married to his new wife?

According to the Old Woman, what is true virtue and what is virtue not?

How does the Old Woman defend the state of poverty?

How does the Old Woman defend the state of being old and ugly?

What two choices does the Old Woman give the knight?

What choice does the knight make?
4
VII.

What happens as a result of the knight’s choice?

What is the theme of this tale?

What curse does the Wife of Bath make on husbands who won’t give their wives sovereignty?

What is sovereignty?
from Morte d’Arthur (176)
 What is the genre of this story?

Describe Arthur’s first dream? What does it signify/foreshadow?

Describe Arthur’s second dream? What does it foreshadow?

What does Arthur do in response to the second dream to avoid his death day?

What happens on this day that suggests it may be Arthur’s destiny to die then?

How many men are in Mordred’s army?

Who is Mordred?

At the end of the battle, how many men are left on each side? Who are they?

What decision does Arthur make at the end of the battle that suggests it was not destiny that he
die on that day?

What is happening on the field after the great battle where so many men died?

How do these circumstances affect Arthur’s decision regarding Excalibur?

How do we know that Sir Lucan is loyal to Arthur?

How many times does Arthur tell Sir Bedivere to throw Excalibur in to the lake?

Why doesn’t Bedivere do this the first two times?

How does Arthur know Bedivere hasn’t followed his orders?

What happens when Bedivere does follow the orders the third time?

Who comes for the dying Arthur?

Whom does Bedivere meet in the woods?

What important position did this man used to have?

How does Bedivere prove his loyalty to Arthur at this point?

What does HIC IAET ARTHURUS, REX QUONDAM, REXQUE FUTURUS mean?
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